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Case Study

  • Client: Major Home Improvement Retail Chain
  • Project: Android Handheld Replacement System
  • Country/Region: North America

A leading national home improvement retail chain requested an Android tablet solution to replace the aging handheld devices in use in more than 200 of its U.S. stores. Intertech worked closely with the company’s internal IT team members to develop two native Android applications. The resulting Android device and applications were delivered without any service interruptions, while providing a new, non-proprietary platform for fielding additional applications and services in the future. 

Technologies Used

  • Java
  • Android
  • JUnit
  • Eclipse
  • Zxing
  • Tortoise SVN

Challenge

• The new Android Handheld Replacement system had to be completed quickly due to impending new store openings. New devices and software for those devices were required to provide the same in-store capability available at existing stores. This created a situation where the delivery timeframe and feature set was fixed. • Applications had to function using the client’s unreliable Wi-Fi. Given the size of the stores and lumber yards, Wi-Fi connectivity was intermittent. This required the applications to operate in online and offline modes. During offline mode, the application had to store data on the device. When the device detected it was again connected, the application had to forward all locally-stored data during offline mode to the client’s inventory control systems. • The Windows CE handheld systems at use in existing stores were no longer provided by the manufacturer, forcing the client to search on eBay and other third-party providers to find enough devices to continue to service their existing stores. • Much of the documentation and understanding of the legacy system handheld system (and data communications to backend servers) had been lost over the years. So requirements often changed with the re-discovery of system functionality in the existing systems. 

Process

Intertech deployed an experienced team of four Android developers to supplement the client’s four-person team. Except for an initial week on site, all work was carried out remotely. Team members created a feature/screen delivery schedule for both applications based on the available condensed delivery time frame. Work was conducted in a modified Agile process with builds and unit tests conducted daily. 

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Result

The Inventory Controller application was responsible for general store inventory lookup (by SKU or UPC#), create bin tags, update inventory counts, check on customer orders, and help conduct inventory audits. The Gate Guard application provided checkout tools to the lumber yard gate guards. Specifically, the Gate Guard application provided product bar scanning and invoice checking capability, the ability to update orders and record shortages, and recording of customer merchandise acceptance. • The project delivered in less than two months (on-time), despite several such issues as a switch to a different Android tablet (10” versus 7”) mid-project in order to accommodate camera fidelity needed to read the client’s bar codes. • The new device and applications allowed client to deliver the device to more than 200 stores without interruption of service. The platform also provides a new, non-proprietary platform for fielding additional applications and services in the future. • The applications were written and the device selected using open source, commercial off-the-shelf technology to allow for flexibility in software and platforms in the future. 

Our Story: Intertech

From the day it was founded in 1991 by local entrepreneur Tom Salonek, Intertech has been a company with an important difference: unwavering commitment to customers, employees and the broader community through excellent work, smart workplace and financial management, and creative philanthropic involvement.

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